Senegal: Torture: the Casamance case

April 30, 1990

Senegal: Torture: the Casamance case

This document is in two parts. A short introductory paper written in May 1990 updates the second part which is the text of a memorandum sent by Amnesty International to the Government of Senegal one year earlier raising concerns about torture in Casamance region, southern Senegal.

Between 1982 and 1989 several hundred people in Casamance region were arrested for political reasons, connected with a campaign for greater autonomy for the area, and some were convicted of violent acts on the basis of statements to the police which may have been made under duress. About 10 people from the region are still in prison for political reasons. The memorandum describes cases of torture and deaths in detention which may have been due to torture.

In May 1989 Amnesty International submitted to the Government of Senegal the attached 12-page memorandum concerning torture of prisoners arrested in Casamance; the memorandum was discussed with government officials in October 1989 when Amnesty International representatives visited Senegal. The authorities reiterated their opposition to torture and their commitment to preventing it. However, they explained that no official investigation into allegations of torure had been carried out as the alleged torture victims had not made formal complaints through the correct channels. The authorities said that an amnesty declared in June 1988, which resulted in the release of most of the Casamance detainees, meant that no further prosecution could be initiated concerning offences committed by either the separatists or by the security forces before July 1987.

The memorandum ends with Amnesty International's recommendations for measures to prevent the use of torture. Amnesty International believes that under international law, the Republic of Senegal is bound to investigate all allegations of torture, whether or not complaints are formally submitted following established procedures. The organization is concerned that if further arrests of government opponents take place in Casamance, a framework may not yet be in place to ensure that torture does not take place.

This summarizes a 15-page document, Torture in Senegal: the Casamance Case (AI Index: AFR 49/02/90), issued by Amnesty International on 23 May 1990. Anyone wanting further details or to take action on this issue should consult the full document.


EXTERNAL AI Index: AFR 49/02/90
Distr: SC/GR/CO/PO

Amnesty International
International Secretariat
1 Easton Street
London WC1X 8DJ 23 May 1990 United Kingdom



Several hundred people from the Casamance region in southern Senegal were arrested for political reasons between 1982 and 1989. Some of them were convicted by the State Security Court in Dakar in December 1983 and in January 1986 on charges of threatening the security of the state and of being members of an illegal association. There were further arrests in late 1986, early 1987 and early 1988 and, most recently, in April 1989. It appears that some of these prisoners were arrested because they had called for independence for the Casamance region, without otherwise using or advocating violence. One of them, Father Augustin Diamacoune Senghor, was considered by Amnesty International to be a prisoner of conscience; he was sentenced by the State Security Court in December 1983 to five years' imprisonment. In other cases, prisoners were charged with violent offences after they or others implicating them had made statements to the police while held incommunicado; some, at least, made statements under duress, after being subjected to severe beatings or other forms of torture.